Squire Gordon Zola of the League of Rhordia

Happy February MoDers, hope the year is going well for you.

I have not played many games this year. In fact the games of ‘Kings of War’ and of ‘Frost Grave’ that I wrote about in January are about it so far. I have however been able to catch up on my painting. I have a number of incomplete projects (what hobbyist doesn’t?) so I decided to knuckle down and get on with it. My ‘kings of war’ army is taking a bit of time to complete. I just don’t seem able to stop myself from getting distracted by new paint jobs.

So I have decided to start small, and work my way up. What could be better that a character who’s been left in a state of under-coat for too long. Introducing ‘Squire Gordon Zola’, one of the four leaders from my ‘League of Rhordia’ faction in the ‘Kings of War’ campaign I’m taking part in at ‘H.A.T.E club’. Zola represents the Halfling leadership and has risen to a level equivalent to the Human Barons. He shares responsibility for the city of Ciabatta with Baron Pence ( who’s family fortunes are not what they used to be). With this model completed the last of the leaders will be ready to take to the field of battle.

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The colour scheme for my Halflings is blue and purple, the house colours of House Zola. His family emblem is the Rooster, I needed to include these elements to the miniature I have chosen to represent the Squire. The beauty I decided upon was sculpted by the talented Alex Huntley of ‘Warploque miniatures’ and comes from his ‘Battle for Troll Bridge’, starter box set.

When I begin a paint job I like to undercoat in a light brown, tan coloured paint, which I then wash, at the moment I use ‘Army Painter’ Strong tone wash. I find it brings out a lot of the features on the figure. I then stare at; and contemplate which colours will go where. Once I have decided upon that I get down to the primary colours.

These then get washed to add tone and depth, then I layer different shades of the main colours until I’m happy with the look. I follow up with some shading and high-lighting. This is quite a lengthy process, which is one reason that I take so long to finish an army. I don’t claim to be a master painter, I know that I am not, but I am pleased with the final look. Here are the four leaders from my League of Rhordian army in all their finished glory:

Duke Brock Wurst

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Baroness Rose Thorne

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Baron Arthur Pence (with his battle wizard)

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Squire Gordon Zola

My little girl saw my painting on this last occasion and deicded that she’d like to get involved (Yes!) so here is here first (yet to be complete) painted mini.

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Painting and the V&A

Sorry MODers, yet another delay to posting my blog. I had meant to produce a number of smaller articles between my last instalment and this one, but as usual the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune have kept me from that goal.

One of the things that prevented me from taking time to type a quick report here and there was a sudden passion for painting and creating, both my Rhordian and Empire of Dust projects received some love, as did some smaller tasks on the side.

As I have become more involved with ‘Mantics’ Kings of war, the lure of building more than one army has taken hold, and having already started a Khemri army just as the Warhammer world blew up, I have decided to put the troops to good use. George Harris a good friend from HATE the Bethnal Green based gaming club gave me a large number of pre-painted GW Tomb King skeletons, and the unpainted body for the classic (if unloved) Nagash miniature.

After some cleaning and inking, I based the skellies into a horde and a Regiment. Nagash’s torso was due some love and reparation. I visited my bits box and after a little digging I was struck by inspiration, just by adding some ogre arms and a metal skull, I had the perfect parts for an ‘Idol of Shobik’ an animated statue to some long forgotten deity, adding some much needed muscle to my undead warriors.

One of the many ‘Kickstarter’ projects that I have backed this year was the Diehard miniatures: Oldhammer Fantasy figures. I received my rewards in the summer; and lovely sculpts they were. I decided to paint the old school wizard, and knight with great sword straight away as they were exactly what I needed for some Rhordian Characters. These miniatures were fun to paint and took no time at all to finish.

In-order to make my Rhordian’s a little different I have gone down the route of scenic basic, I wanted to portray the agrarian society that was depicted in the army book, and have been putting as much effort into my bases as I do with my troops, sadly this does mean I take even longer to finish my units. It’s definitely worth the effort however.

About two weeks ago the committee at my local gaming club, HATE, announced that we had been invited to attend the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, to play some games, as part of an active exhibit in the V&A’s conference ‘Parallel Worlds’. Our task was to represent the club by playing a game of two, and talk to any visitors that showed interest. Who’d pass that up. My good friend Daniel Read asked if I’d like to play a game, and after getting permission from the ‘Boss’, I put together a 2500 points list for Kings of War, using Elves with Rhordian allies. We had a great game using a scenario called ‘Invade’ where both players need to get their soldier to cross the table and into the enemy deployment area. Daniel had taken Dwarfs, who proved to be as tough as ever, but we managed to stop them making any headway, sadly this was true of my own forces neither army got past half way by the end of the game. If it had come down to kill points, I believe my opponent would have carried the day, which is what makes scenarios so fun, you really have to think about your strategy, and generally after you have already selected an army to play with. It is much more interesting than the place units, then move, roll and kill or a straight open combat.

Finally I wish to mention a website that is run by a close friend. It deals in games such as X-wing, Munchkin, and has a good range of ‘Mantic’ products all at good prices. If you need some gaming goodies please check out: www.kabgaming.co.uk

A tale of two battles

Hello MoDers, as I said in my last post, I’m making up for misses blogs by posting at least twice this month. I have had a number of Kings of War games these past months, I am really enjoying the game and looking forward to a campaign that is taking place soon at my local gaming club ‘H.A.T.E’.

Rhordia Vs Basilea:

Baroness Thorne looked across the fields to the forces approaching from the Hegemony. ‘What could those zealots want with Rhordian farm land’ she wandered. As she looked across the land soon to be trampled and bloody, she noticed something that appeared to be an old well, no it was an ornamental spring, was being the emphasis, for what had clearly once been a lovingly decorated fountain, was a crumbling example of its former glory. The Baroness noticed that a statue remained intact although covered in vines, and then it clicked. This must have been holy land for the Basilean’s and they’ve sent out one of their crusades to take it back, well not on her watch!

This was a game of 2000 pts to prove the science of Rhordia over the religion of Basilea. The thing I like about the Rhordian list is the combination of Halflings and Humans, it leads to a characterful army which is still quite effective, a horde of Spearlings is very difficult to shift and the volley gun is very effective. You have to get used to how the army plays but they are certainly fun, win or lose.

In this game my opponent had an impressive looking army with a Paladin riding a dragon, a horde of knights and units Ur-Elohi (basically angels). I had added my Iron Beast, a regiment of house knights and two hordes of Halflings (1 spear and 1 archer).

This was actually a well-balanced game in which neither side held back and did their best to get at each other. On my left flank an abbess on a Panther drawn chariot smashed into my musket block, nullifying their ranged attack. On my right flank my Halfling scouts and Iron beast smashed a unit of panther riders, and then saw off a unit of the Elohi. My Halfling Howitzer kept taking shots at the left flank where support was sorely needed, but they just could not hit the side of a barn door. My house guard tried to support the musket block who had bravely withstood the raging Abbess, but neither seemed able hurt her. Sadly this exposed the house guards flank and both units were crushed as paladins and knights added their weight to the press. The Dragon swooped in and annihilated the Halfling spears, only to get a rear charge from the mercenary unit who hurt the beast but could not make it flinch. The dragon and paladins struck back and it was goodbye Mercs.

With my left flank all but crumpled, the middle in stale mate between my Halfling Archers and another unit of the Elohi, all my hopes remained with the right flank in which Baroness Thorne had successfully vanquished the Basilean forces with the aid of her house knights, Halfling scouts and the Iron Beast, and were turning to face the stronger threat from the left flank. I felt in deep trouble however as the mighty Paladin riding Dragon were very much still in the game and it was the Basilean turn. The Dragon having had a taste of the plump halflings, he fancied some more, broiled in their little tank. This time the dice favoured the little men and the Dragon rider failed to shift the half-track. In their turn the Iron Beast counter charged the scaly fiend and turned into mush. This turn also saw the Flail carrying nuns get charged by the Baroness and her knights, suffering a similar fate to the drake riding paladin. This had been the final turn of the game, the stale mate between Angel and Halfling mid table continued all other troops were too far to reach each other meaning points wise the two sides drew, and would have to settle their grudges some other time.

Dwarfs, Rat-kin and Rhordia:  

Baron Pence stared out across the Northern marches, once a region of wealth and power for his family, until the seams of the gold mines ran thin, and the land had over time been converted to crop rotation, trying to put nutrients back into the soil. Sadly two races of Mantica seemed unable to forget this land was once rich in gold, and constantly vie over old mines in the belief they’ll discover a new load. This often leads to damaged crops and ruined soil. As soon as new came that the nearby dwarf kingdom has sent a new expedition to his lands he gathered what forces he could to drive them back to the mountains, he heart fell when he arrived to find the Dwarfs were the only ones with an interest in the mines.

This was a game of 1500 pts in a three way battle between Dwarfs, Humans/Halfling and Rat-kin. A marker was placed in the centre of the table to represent the game objective, which was to have as many units in the centre by the end of the game. The Dwarfs deployment centre was at the end of the table, the Rat-kin and Rhordians had the table corners opposite this. In order to prevent two players ganging up on the other, and the same person going last each time, we introduced an initiative role at the beginning of each round which certainly livened the game up a bit. We also set up our troops at the same time to minimise any advantage of seeing where we were placing our more valuable units.

I got the first go in the first round, and used this to get near both enemies. My plan was to hold the centre objective with my Iron Beast, and horde of Spearlings. My fast and hard hitting mounted units were to take the fight to the Dwarfs, while the Halfling scouts and Archer horde covered the right flank against the Rat-kin. This was the only round I got first go, and spent most of the game going second or third. It did not hamper me too much and my Rhordians caused a good amount of damage, but took a high toll in doing so. My Iron Beast underestimated a horde of elite Rat-kin troop, and was destroyed by the ravenous vermin. My Honour Guard vanquished a unit of hardy dwarf rangers, only to get into a war of attrition with some Berserker Broks that did not go the proud Rhordian’s way.

As the game wound down my right flank remained in the control of my Halfling Archer horde although the scouts had all been slain. My Baron had destroyed the Dwarf cannon and crew and in a canter back to the right flank he met up with the only other surviving character, a battle wizard, together they headed to the Halfling horde to regroup. Meanwhile the battle between Rat and Dwarf raged, with heavy losses on both sides, but when the dust settled the Rat-Kin had victoriously claimed the old mine shaft, the battle was theirs.

League of Rhordia – War Shrine

Hello MoDers, I had been a tad tardy with my blogs of late, but hope to make up for that with two blogs in quick succession. Both will be in relation to Kings of War, the first about the design and assembly of my Rhordian ‘War Shrine’ while the other will be a battle report on my most recent games.

My League of Rhordia forces have been doing well quite recently. However they lacked a little something, so I read through the army book once more for inspiration. Some units are still waiting on a delivery of Halflings from two kickstarters I backed (Westphalia miniatures and The Assault Group). Given this delay, I needed something else to focus on, something that I could start on straight away.

Then I found the War Shrine of Rhordia, an item that is at the disposal of the Dukes and Barons on the league, which not only offers a good supporting attack, but donates a lovely rallying bonus to nearby troops, and able to shoot off 5 lightning bolts per round. I had enough components in my bits box, High Elf chariot, Warrior priest(s), horses, all the necessary things (almost).

After getting a few bits together, I had a long think about the design. Many things change from the first Items I drafted in, the most noticeable being the replacement of the horse for two Fenrisian wolves, to represent the Aralez that the people of Rhordia are so close to. They certainly lend some atmosphere to the piece.

Given the fact that the war shrine can shoot lightning, I wanted there to be a clear scientific reason for this, so on the podium behind the statue I placed two tesla coils, with two further copper coils on the underside of the shrine to indicate electricity generated by the movement of the shrine. I also wanted to show the power help by the relic and decided ‘what better than arcing electricity’. The only way I could think of doing this was with thinly rolled green stuff.

As I started to assemble the shrine my priest’s hammer proved too big and I just could not put him in place. So out came the tin snips and it was back to the bits box where I found a 40K power fist that could easily pass as Halfling tech. Quickly attached and painted I though he looked much better, than before, (although I apologise to any traditionalist who preferred the original look).

Anyway that is all for this instalment, I won’t make you wait too long for the next one.

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My SALUTE 2016

Well yesterday was the ‘Steampunk’ themed SALUTE 2016, and I have to say that ‘South London Warlords’ did an excellent job as usual. (Although I still believe that it is a massive shame that the ‘Bring & Buy sale’ is absent from the event).

My good friend Nik Green came over from Austria, and after an early start courtesy of my little girl, we got ready for the big day. I wanted to get the ‘London Excel’ relatively early, so you get an okay place in the queue and there is that build-up of anticipation whilst you wait to be let through into the main hanger. We got there in good time and were in the middle of the second line of convention attendees.

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Once the theoretical starting pistol went off, I made a brisk walk to the main stand in the centre to add my paint contest entries. Nik made a bee line straight to ‘Ainsty castings’ as he had his eye on some treasure tiles they’ve produced that would be perfect in ‘Frostgrave’. We met up at the main stand and after Nik added his entries at the competition desk, we headed for the ‘Perry miniatures’, stall. Nik is a good friend of the Perry brothers from his re-enactment days, so always like to have as much of a chat and catch up as he can, not always easy as give the brother’s sculpting talents, it is a very popular place. They kindly allowed up to stow our lunch bag behind their counter, and then Nik and I went out separated ways, me to check out the ‘Frostgrave’, demo table, and Nik for a meetup with the ‘Oldhammer’ crowd.

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The scenery on the ‘Frostgrave’ table was phenomenal, snow covered ruins built into a mountain with bridges and other obstacles that could obscure line of sight, and therefore spell casting. At the back of the raised corner they had built a cavern with glowing crystal. Sadly I was too late to get into the first game, and after missing two other starts I decided to focus at looking at the other games taking place. There was a good mix of fantasy and sci-fi games going on as well as historical re-enactments, and games based on other genres. There was a rather impressive board based on ‘Mad Max’ and a really good siege of a medieval castle.

You may recall that some point last year I backed a kick starter that was run by Carl Brown through ‘Second thunder’, which was to fund a skirmish combat game with rules that had some flexibility such as stat creation for you war band, the game is call ‘Open Combat’, and Carl was present at SALUTE with Gav Thorpe passing out copies to those who had funded the campaign and to sell to those less fortunate. I have had a chance now to flick through the pages and I am really excited about getting to grips with this game.

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I did another circuit of the main hanger and found the ‘Bad Squiddo Games’ stand which was being run by the dice bag lady herself ‘Annie’, her ever present mascot ‘Baggie’ was also present, and I couldn’t pass on the opportunity for a photo. I have visited ‘Annie’s’ site a few time, there is a wide range of realistic female figures for gaming purposes be it fantasy, modern war or Sci-fi. Recently ‘Annie’, commissioned a range of sculpt that celebrate the sacrifice made by many women in the Russian army of the 1st world war, and they are really beautiful. If I played that genre I would certainly have picked up a pack, not that I could totally pass on the goodies on offer. I picked up a metallic ‘Mog’ a female orc warrior, a note book with a picture of a Russian sniper on the cover a badge of ‘Baggie’ and some crystals for scenery construction.

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My aim this SALUTE was to stock up on paints and brushes, whilst sticking within a budget I had set by putting money aside every month since January, this gave me a healthy £80 to spend. However I was not counting on how costly good paints and brushes can be. I also forgot how many stall had new shiny looking goodies on sale. I stuck to my guns and after a couple of  circuits I found a bargain, £1 for a tube of Vallejo paints I grabbed a handful which included a pot of metal medium, and gave the vendor a crisp £10. I followed that with the purchase of 4 ‘Army painter’ brushes, and a pot of ‘Army painter’, strong tone wash. £25 spent on my hobby needs; I had money to spend on some of my hobby wants. This started with a trip to Alex Huntley’s ‘Arcworlde’, stall to obtain some halflings, here I bought a trio of town guard who will make superb Sergeant figures in my League of Rhordia army.

Halfway through the day I checked the display cases for the painting competition entries, as usual there were so many great submissions, I felt less confident about my own contribution. Later this feeling was proven correct, as my entries did not make it into the final judging round. I was disappointed of course, but with all the entries left in the case with mine, fine examples of the hobby, I did not feel down hearted for long.

As usual with SALUTE the day flew past, and I was absolutely exhausted, my legs were grateful for the seat I got on the DLR home. I left ‘London Excel’ with good memories and a back pack full of goodies. The anticipation has already sparked for next year.

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Games days, Frostgrave and Hanomag conversions

Hello MoDers, It has been a busy yet fun filled month so far, I decided it was time for my mug to pour forth its content.

In late February we had ‘HATE CON 1’ my local gaming club opened its doors to welcome gamers from far and wide to sample a variety of games old and new, and experience the fantastic ambiance of the ‘Bethnal Green Workingman’s Club’. There really was a wide variety of games to choose from such ‘Hero Quest’ and ‘Wings of War’. I volunteered to run the one of the two Frostgrave tables; which was a bit of a baptism by fire given the fact I’d only played twice myself prior to this. I had read the book about a dozen times, but with my sieve like memory I still made a few errors, that certainly did not appear to effect the fun had by the players, but did make it a little too difficult to wound the warband members. Still if you want to learn how to play a game you can’t do much better that to GM five games in a row.

Some of the club members ran a table that allowed people to delve into a number of bits boxes, and put together any weird and wonderful structure that you could imagine, for a small monetary offering, through this and some other generous donation the HATE club raised £100 for the charity ‘Mind’.

Due to work commitments I had to wait a whole week and a half before I got some more gaming action. But when I did I chose to play Frostgrave yet again, it is such an addictively fun game, so many nuances that make no game alike. This time it was a three way affair, to parties from the school of Witch craft whilst the other followed an Elemental mage. The rounds were quite evenly balanced with most wizards getting their spells off. There were some distinctly different styles of play, my witch mainly used spells like ‘Telekinesis’ to get to the treasure tokens, whilst her missile troops took pot shots at their opponents. The other witch kept trying to summon a daemon to take the fight to his enemy, and the elementalist kept magically boosting his warband enabling them to make some devastating attacks. Both my opponents lost their apprentices, the elemental trainee summoned an imp who then charged and attacked said junior mage and tore him a new ear hole. As the game came to an end I had three treasure tokens, the other witch had two, and the elemental mage also had three. It was looking like a draw, and then my apprentice snagged the last token, the other players did not make it plain sailing, but she managed to scuttle off the board and bring my witch’s hoard to four. She needed it though as she lost half her party during the scuffle and would need to hire some new hands.

Painting wise I’ve been quite busy too. After my last game of ‘Kings of war’ in which my ‘League of Rhordia’ army got a royal kicking from some surly dwarfs, I decided to kit them out a bit. Impressed by the carnage wrought by the ‘Steel Behemoth’ the dwarfs have at their disposal, I decided to fall back on some trusty Halfling engineering and construct an ‘Iron beast’. I don’t think that ‘Mantic’ currently do a model for this vehicle, so I decided to get converting. My dwarf opponent had used the Empire steam tank from old Warhammer as his behemoth, I racked my brains before deciding that halflings would have to have a Halftrack. I scoured the web for a suitable 28mm model halftrack and found the ‘SD.KFZ 251/1 AUSF D HANOMAG’ by ‘Warlord’. Having found a suitable base, I got some bits and pieces together to take the WWII out and hammer the fantasy in:

Once I had a basic idea what I wanted to look like, but before adding glue, I decided on the paint scheme. I wanted to have a large crest somewhere on the vehicle, and the elongated bonnet gave ample room for this. I used the last of my green stuff to make a basic shield shape, and some lumps of coal for added detail in the back. I was pretty much decided on having a rooster as the shield emblem, but could not decide how it should look, after a few practice sketches and some more web surfing I was ready to free hand paint my avian centre piece. I think it worked well.

My last chore was to select and paint a crew from the plethora of Halfling sculpts I’ve purchased over the years, I’d say they are my second favourite fantasy race after Dwarfs, so I had a few to choose from. I finally settled on two from the ‘Arcworlde’ range and a third from my old Halfling Blood bowl team finally with all painted and assembled it was time to take some pics, it was a rare bright and sunny day so I popped into my back yard and found a suitable spot for some photographs. I think I may enter this piece into the Salute 2016 painting competition, there is still a little work to do basing and highlights, but I’m definitely happy with the progress so far.

Sadly it is lent at the moment so I have no beer recommendations to make. Hope you enjoyed reading, and until the next post, take care.